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Table of Contents

Radio Technical Officers





Chapter 1: The Early Years

Chapter 2: The Training School

Chapter 3: Equipment Installation Records

Chapter 4: The 'Techs' in Antarctica

Chapter 5: The 'Techs' Tell Their Stories
Trevor Donald Tells It All; Life in the Bureau from 1947 to 1989
Ray Clarke Looks Back
Some Memories from Ralph Bulloch
Peter Copland Works in Meteorological Electronics
Some Titbits from Dave Grainger
A Very Modest Tale from Alf Svensson
Adrian Porter Pulls No Punches
Jack Tait Recalls
Some Stories by Colourful Freddie Soutter
Some Snippets from Noel Barrett
Stephen CourbÍt Has His Penny Wworth
And a Flyspeck or Two from Lenny Dawson
Some Interesting Reminiscences from Jannes Keuken
Brief Stories from Phil Black
From Gloria West, Wife of the Late Bob West
The Life and Bureau Times of Graham Linnett
Tales Out of School from Bill Hite
Peter Copland on Cyclone Tracy
Peter Broughton Tells the Story of Maralinga

Appendix 1: 'Techs' Roll Call

Appendix 2: Trainee Intakes

Appendix 3: 'Techs' Who Have Served in the Antarctic Region

Appendix 4: Summary of Major Installation Projects

Appendix 5: Summary of Major Equipment Variously Installed at Sites and Maintained by Radio Technical Officers


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Some Titbits from Dave Grainger (continued)

Equipment at Cloncurry was the 277F radar (reputedly the first one bought by the Bureau), 72 MHz radiosonde, sferics (in the northern network with Eagle Farm, Charleville and Townsville) and Dines anemograph in the forecasting/briefing office. Sferics observations took place twice per day, at both 4.15 am and pm, and were run from Eagle Farm where the Observer there called "flash" followed by his bearing and the other sites followed with their readings. Observations normally took about 10 minutes. On one occasion, the chappie in Brisbane went well past 15 minutes until he got the message when four or five flashes went down the line with responses of "no flash", "no flash", "no flash".

In the next two and a half years nothing much of note happened except the installation of the 402 MHz radiosonde replacing the 72 MHz equipment, installation of a Synchrotac anemometer at the radar site and the closure of the briefing service.

During the latter 12 months I don't think I missed one day where I didn't have at least one drink at the Post Office or the Queens. When I arrived at the 'Curry' there were seven pubs. When I left, there were only five; the Queens burnt down and one of the others handed in its licence.

In September 1966 the meteorologists at Cloncurry were Bernie Oliver and OIC Charlie Hamilton. Charlie used to quote Shakespeare when in his cups. When flight briefing moved to Mount Isa, Ken Hall became OIC at Cloncurry. Later, Charlie McIntyre was OIC. This caused a little confusion after the arrival of unrelated Observer Colin McIntyre. I was relieved at Cloncurry in January 1969 by Reg Carter who was later to become Chief Technical Instructor at Training School.

The highest level of education available at Cloncurry was only Queensland Intermediate level and my move from there came at a convenient time. I was accepted for the first formal course on the WF44 radar, which commenced in February 1969 at A'Beckett Street, Melbourne, and Laverton. The course supervisor was John MacDermott and I will always remember that one of his questions on the final paper was "how many sliprings are there in the pedestal of the WF44 radar?". Good grief; there must be enough! Would someone pinch a couple.

They waited until the final week of the course to tell us that they would carry on for another two weeks with the WF3 radar. This was about three days after I had arranged with the estate agent to vacate the rental house. It was about this time, I think, that the classification Observer (Radio) became Radio Technician.

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Clarke, R. 1999 'Stories of the Bureau's Radio Technical Officers from 1948', Metarch Papers No. 14 February 1999, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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